Mirzakhani, first female 'Nobel Prize for Mathematics' victor, is dead

Maryam Mirzakhani dead: Iranian math genius and first female Fields Medal winner loses cancer battle

"This is a great honor", she was quoted as saying in 2014.

Mirzakhani, who joined Stanford in 2008, specialized in theoretical mathematics.

She made history in 2014 after becoming the first woman, as well as the first Iranian, to win the Fields Medal - nicknamed the "Nobel Prize of mathematics" - for her outstanding contributions to the fields of geometry and dynamical systems.

"The news of young Iranian genius and math professor Maryam Mirzakhani's passing has brought a deep pang of sorrow to me and all Iranians who are proud of their eminent and distinguished scientists", Zarif posted in Persian on his Instagram account, reported the Tehran Times. "Gone far too soon", Iran-born NASA scientist Firouz Naderi posted on Twitter. "Maryam was a brilliant mathematical theorist, and also a humble person who accepted honors only with the hope that it might encourage others to follow her math".

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She attended an all-girls high school in Tehran, led by a principal unbowed by the fact that no girl had ever competed for Iran's International Mathematical Olympiad team.

Mirzakhani enjoyed pure mathematics because of its "elegance and longevity", she said. In 1995, she earned a ideal score and two gold medals. Her questions came in English. "That was the case starting with her thesis work, which generated several papers in all the top journals". Her paper "Growth of the number of simple closed geodesics on hyperbolic surfaces", she investigated the growth rate of the number of simple closed geodesics, as a function of their length, following her PhD entitled "Simple geodesics on hyperbolic surfaces and the volume of the moduli space of curves" on 2004 at Harvard University. Cancerous cells had recently spread to her bone marrow. The challenge, which began as a thought exercise among physicists a century ago, had yet to be solved. "But also a daughter, a mother and a wife".

Early in her life, Mirzakhani had wanted to be a writer.

Mirzakhani is survived by her husband, Jan Vondrak, and her 6-year-old daughter, Anahita.

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